Susan, Caring for Others: Following a demanding time caring for family, I returned to Alexander lessons for support in living day to day life and to restore myself mentally and physically. Over the last 18 months I have attended both group and individual sessions with Colleen.
I learned in group lessons to be calm and aware of how everyday movements and tasks can be attempted with greater ease. Individual lessons have helped go to the root of the problem of aches and pains.
Colleen’s caring and patient approach has provided me with the skills to know myself better, through using lying down directions and observing myself regarding posture. They have become blissful opportunities to direct my posture. I am never short of something to think about while standing in a queue! I find The Alexander Technique a continual process as there is always something to learn.
Cordelia, Retired but not Retiring: My aim in starting Alexander Technique lessons was to correct my lifelong rounded shoulders and become an erect old lady. The process is easy, gentle and effective. As a retired GP I have been startled by the efficacy of such a simple technique. I now intend to apply the Alexander Technique to my clarinet playing!
Ann, Teacher, Researcher & Asthma Sufferer: I started having Alexander lessons because of a bad back (I was a primary school teacher who had to ‘stoop’ a lot in my job) but found to my delight that it was also very effective in lessening the frequency and the effects of my asthma attacks. A lot of the technique is about learning to let go of the stress that we all hold in our bodies and this also helps to free the mind.
The Alexander Technique is a very useful strategy to have for situations that you know are going to be difficult and also as a way of calming down when you find yourself in the kind of stressful situations that are quite frequent in most people’s daily lives!
Colleen is an excellent and very patient teacher. After having regular lessons for a few years I no longer go regularly but have an occasional lesson when I feel the need and that is sufficient to maintain my sense of well being.
Jane – Administrator & Motorbike Enthusiast: Years of working at a desk, cradling the phone between my ear and shoulder, carrying round a heavy shoulder bag etc. have all taken their toll, resulting in a problem with severe pain inthe left side of my neck, shoulder and head. My GP initially prescribed strong anti-inflammatory drugs subsequently followed by X-rays, acupuncture and over 12 months of physiotherapy. Nothing seemed to work or give lasting relief – until I started having Alexander Technique lessons 6 months ago. After the very first lesson, I could feel my shoulders and neck muscles letting go of their tension.
During the weekly lessons which followed, Colleen made me very aware of my posture and habits which were causing my problems. It still amazes me how her slightest touch can detect my tensed muscles and encourage them to release. Whenever I lapse into my bad habits, I instantly recognise what I am doing to myself and am able to stop, take a moment to clear my mind and correct myself before it becomes a painful problem again. AT has become part of my every day life and I try to apply the lessons learned in whatever I am doing, whether that is sitting on the back of our motorbike, doing the ironing or trying to get to sleep after a stressful day at work. I am now able to leave what used to be ever-present painkillers, at home
Jean – Retired but ‘Still Working on Herself’: When I saw the effect that Alexander Technique lessons had on my son, I decided that my back and neck problems would benefit from the same approach. I had a job which involved intensive days in front of a computer screen, and also a lot of longdistance driving. I had a stiff neck, painful shoulders and was developing a “dowager’s hump”. I started lessons with a teacher in Manchester, and knew I needed to continue when I moved to Bradford in 2004. Colleen built on the work of my first excellent teacher, and she too has given me a range of different approaches to use.
She has taught me to visualise muscle groups, and how to release them, and when I encounter problems, works quietly and imaginatively to give me a number of possible solutions. I like very much the fact that I am always in control with these – whether I try them, how frequently, in what circumstances. I never feel pressured to do so – with the result that I do try things out, and they work! I’m retired now, but I still go for lessons on a regular basis, and find I continue to benefit from learned self discipline, and Colleen’s steady encouragement.
Heather – Musician & Student: Two particular problems led me to try the Alexander Technique: the repetitive and unfamiliar movements involved in beginning to learn to play the viol were aggravating pain around the shoulders which had originally been caused by long hours using a computer keyboard, and exercise like swimming and hiking was leaving me with stiff aching knees.
I am astonished at how quickly the Alexander Technique has made a difference. I have become aware of the times when I am tensing up muscles for no reason and I am getting rid of the bad habits which had accumulated over the years. I am regaining the flexibility around the joints that I had when I was younger and that I had lost almost without realising it.
Taking just a little more care over common actions, like reaching out with the arms or standing up, is causing the old aches and pains to disappear, so I am now much more comfortable with formerly troublesome activities such as typing and swimming, and I have been able to move on to new things, such as serious Alpine walking and playing the violin without pain or discomfort.